Chapter

Divine Retribution and “<i>Das Adam Smith Problem</i>” Revisited

in Friends of the Unrighteous Mammon

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226137063
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226137087 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226137087.003.0016
Divine Retribution and “Das Adam Smith Problem” Revisited

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One possible solution to “Das Adam Smith Problem” does not reduce the virtues to prudence and prudence alone. It is possible to synthesize Smith's two texts such that sympathy still matters and is in relation to the prudence of Wealth of Nations, but, unsurprisingly, is in tension with it. Drawing on faculty psychology, the pastoral moralists came to their own resolution of “Das Adam Smith Problem” by recognizing that the individual is not uniform (operating on either sympathy or self-interest or the passions alone) but is internally divided and constantly striving to achieve the balanced character that comes with the right ordering of these three faculties. The difficulty with this solution, as Amos Witztum describes it, “is that the different components of human character can be considered in complete segregation.”

Keywords: Adam Smith Problem; prudence; sympathy; Wealth of Nations; pastoral moralists; individual; Amos Witztum; Adam Smith

Chapter.  4029 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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